stephmodo: Gardening 101

Gardening 101

• 22 May 2009

Since I love to cook and use fresh ingredients, it seemed natural to start a little garden. The only problem with this seemingly obvious scenario is that I'm not a gardener. In fact, I've only recently turned my black thumb kind of a brownish-green hue. This basically means instead of killing plants within a week, it takes more like a month or two :)

But, all skills that do not come naturally to us can be acquired with much effort. This I know. So, I'm giving my little garden a "go". I planted about 25 plants and only killed 4 the first week and 2 the second. Given my history I'm pretty satisfied with the status quo. I'm just hoping my red lettuce starts growing a little more. It's not dead--or even close--it simply appears to be the same size this week as it was 2 weeks ago. Hmmm....thankfully I can report my herb garden is alive and kicking. Hallelujah!

Any tips?


  1. Stephanie, I'm not a gardener either but last year I found the blog "A Way to Garden" by Margaret Roach, who was (for years) the garden editor for Martha Stewart, among other things. I love it. She's been really helpful in letting me know what to do when and giving more ideas for plants, etc. Also very friendly and approachable. I highly recommend! {and, no, I don't know her and am not paid by her :)}

  2. Really all your little garden needs is plenty of sunshine and loads of water.

    Start picking your lettuce earlier than you think, pinch off a few leaves here and there and toss them with a little vinaigrette for a tender treat. The more you pinch off the more they grow.

    Good for you with the herbs, it is really fun to use them generously isn't it? Just tonight I threw chives and italian parsley in with my brown rice for a fresh take. Mmm.

  3. move to Palo Alto. ;) Everything grows here. (from Paula)

  4. Good luck. Gardening is my passion. I love flowers from my garden!
    ♥ Jen

  5. You can do anything Steph!
    My little experience with lettuce is that is does better in little sun. I've done 2 years of both, and it did better not in my garden, but in my flower beds that only got around 4 hours of sun each day.
    Another thing I learned about it is that it doesn't crisp up on its own. You need to pick it off earlier in the day, wash with cold water and then place in fridge in something (ziploc, bowl with plastic wrap).
    Oh yeah and another is when is starts growing, don't wait till it is a 'head' of lettuce. Pick it off as it grows and it will grow back. So i could be wrong there, that is just what worked for me!
    I REALLY like doing lettuce!

  6. we are trying a garden for the first time this year. I'm very excited. Our growing season is a bit shorter than yours, so we just planted our seeds and starts last week. So far, nothing is dead but I can't tell if things will flourish. I have been told that tomatoes need lots of water until the fruit begins to mature, then back off on the water. But, I'm learning as I go.

  7. My number one tip for gardening is to plant in a section of your beds/yard where the automatic sprinklers will hit. Seriously. Then make sure they're set to water 3 times a week (water your seeds by hand everyday until they're a few inches tall), and turn the sprinklers on to 4-5 times a week when it's especially hot and dry in the middle of the summer. Water in the evening or first thing in the morning, so the water doesn't evaporate as soon as it hits.

    I like to crowd my garden. I ignore most of the suggestions on how far apart to place things, as I don't have a large plot, and if it gets too thick, I just add a fence or something for the squash/melon/cucumber to trellis up.

    One last thing: tomatoes love big cages. They'll grow to fill a large cage and give you plenty of fruit if you are good to them (but don't baby them, or they'll be wimpy).

    Okay, just kidding, here's my last thing: chicken compost every year. Not a ton, but a light covering on your soil every spring or fall. It's better than miracle grow, and I know Harmon's sells it.

    Good luck! Plant lots of things, then something is bound to be successful!! :)

  8. What kind of amendments have you used in your soil? Peat moss, compost, and vermiculite are all great ways to really give your plants the nutrients and loose soil they need to do well.


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